Pathways of Professional Identity Development: A Grounded Theory of Female School Principals
Keywords:female school principals, education management, professional identity, grounded theory.
AbstractThis paper examines a female school principal’s perceptions of professional identity development. Recently education management has undergone the process of managerial transformation whereas new requirements and standards have been raised for school principals. Managerial transformations have been influenced by political, economic and cultural factors that (re)shaped school principals’ professional identities. These social identity changes are especially important in the shift of managerial paradigms that evoke challenges in social identification processes. Two major approaches to professional identity include a feminist standpoint and a social construction approach. The former claims that females are underrepresented as leaders in most facets of work life due to gender role stereotypes, prejudices and unequal power distribution. The latter subscribes to the notion that person’s identities are multiple and fluid due to their cultural, historic, and social situatedness. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the pathways of female school principals’ professional identity development. The main research question of this study was how professional identity development is described by female school principals. The study focuses on two in-depth interviews with experienced school principals. The constructivist grounded theory methodology has been applied for the research. Comparative analysis allowed to generate analytic units ranging from small to large and from micro (individual), and meso (organizational) to macro (regional, national or worldwide) levels in disclosing professional identity development process. Fifteen themes comprised the results of the interview research unfolding the essential phenomenon of professional identity development.